Spiritual Memoir Writing Timeline

Here Elizabeth sketches out a healthy timeline for the writing process, including:

  • Getting an idea
  • Pre-writing and draft
  • Revising and reviewing
  • Editing
  • Publishing



Recommended Reading

“The Attributes of Spiritual Memoir,” from Writing the Sacred Journey, pages 13-23.


Journal Exercise

Read through and spend time with the following quotations:


Nancy Napier, in Sacred Stories:
“Reaching into the past means nothing if it does not change the present.”


Patricia Hampl:
“To write about one’s life is to live it twice, and the second living is both spiritual and historical, for a memoir reaches deep within the personality as it seeks its narrative form.”


Judith Barrington, Writing the Memoir: From Truth to Art:
“Rather than simply telling a story from her life, the memoirist both tells the story and muses upon it, trying to unravel what it means in the light of her current knowledge.… The contemporary memoir includes retrospection as an essential part of the story.”


Judith Barrington, Writing the Memoir: From Truth to Art:
“Living a conscious and reflective life is a prerequisite for writing a memoir of substance.”

Mark Doty, “Return to Sender,” in The Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Creative Nonfiction:
“Memoir is a way of reclaiming, at least temporarily, the sense of shapeliness in a life.”


Tim Hansel:
“All of our theology must eventually become biography.”


What surprises you?  What excites you?  What scares you?
Choose one to copy out and reflect on in your journal.